Tamagno, Francesco

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Tamagno, Francesco

Tamagno, Francesco, famous Italian tenor; b. Turin, Dec. 28, 1850; d. Várese, near Turin, Aug. 31, 1905. He studied with Pedrotti in Turin and Vannuccini in Milan, making his debut in Palermo in 1869. After appearances in Turin, he scored a major success with his portrayal of Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera in Palermo in 1874. He made his debut at Milan’s La Scala as Vasco da Gamba in L’Africaine in 1877, establishing himself as its leading tenor; created the role of Azaele in Ponchiel-li’s Il Figliuol prodigo (1880), appeared as Gabriele Adorno in the revised version of Verdi’s Simone Boc-canegra (1881), and was the 1st Didier in Ponchielli’s Marion Demore (1885). He then won international acclaim when Verdi chose him to create the title role in Otello (1887), a role he sang in London in 1889 and in Chicago and N.Y. in 1890; also chose it for his Covent Garden debut in London on May 13, 1895. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Arnold in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell on Nov. 21, 1894, remaining on the company’s roster for a season. In 1901 he returned to Covent Garden and also sang at La Scala. He made his final stage appearance at Milan’s Teatro dal Verme in 1904; his last appearance as a singer took place in Ostend that same year. Tamagno was one of the greatest tenors in the history of opera; in addition to his Othello, he was celebrated for his portrayals of Don Carlos, Radamès, Alfredo, Manrico, Don José, John of Leyden, Faust, Ernani, and Samson.


E. de Amicis, F T.(Palermo, 1902); M. Corsi, T. (Milan, 1927).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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